Planned Parenthood

Masturbation

Masturbation at a glance:

  • Masturbation means touching your own genitals for sexual pleasure.
  • Most people masturbate, even if they don't talk about it.
  • Masturbation is a normal and healthy way to learn what feels good.
  • There's no chance of getting pregnant or an STD from masturbating.

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Is masturbation bad?

No way. Masturbation can't make you blind, crazy, or stupid. It can't damage your body or stunt your growth. In fact, masturbation can actually be good for you.

  • Masturbation is safer than any other type of sex — there's no chance of pregnancy or sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). Masturbation is the best way for you to learn what you like and don't like. If you decide to have sex with someone, knowing how you like to be touched can help you give them some direction.
  • It releases stress. Many people masturbate to relax. Some people even find it helps them fall asleep.
  • Orgasms — no matter how they happen — can act as a natural painkiller and even help with period cramps. (And it's more fun than taking an aspirin!)
  • Mutual masturbation (masturbating with a partner) is a great way to have safer sex while showing the other person what feels nice. (If you share an object, like a sex toy, you want to make sure to use condoms and clean it before swapping.)

So can you masturbate too much? Here's the bottom line on that: As long as it doesn't get in the way of going to school, work, and kicking it with your friends and family, you don't have to worry about doing it "too much."

Who masturbates?

Most people masturbate. Guys masturbate. Girls masturbate. Single people and people in relationships masturbate. Some people masturbate a couple times a day, some only every once in a while. It's also completely normal if your girlfriend or boyfriend masturbates (or wants to masturbate) — it doesn't mean you're not enough, and it doesn't mean they're not into you.

But of course, you should only masturbate if you want to. Some people never do, and that's totally fine, too.

Can I get an STD from masturbating?

Masturbation is a good way to have sex without the risk of STDs. But if you masturbate using an object (like a sex toy) that you share with someone else, there's a risk of STDs.

So if you share a sex toy with someone else that touches the vagina, anus, or penis, treat it like you would treat genitals — put a condom on it! Use a new condom for each partner — and for each part of the body.

What should I do if someone catches me masturbating?

Masturbating is private, and it can be embarrassing when someone catches you. But you know what? Chances are, they've masturbated too.

If someone walks in on you masturbating, it's probably a good time to talk with them about privacy. Getting past the embarrassment and talking with them about it might open the door for conversations about privacy and sex in the future, whether it's your parents, other family members, roommates, or friends.

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Masturbation